SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — It’s been nearly one year since nine public workers lost their lives when a gunman opened fire at a VTA rail yard, a tragedy that has since reignited a nationwide debate over gun safety.
We look back at the nine lives lost on May 26, 2021, on what was supposed to be another regular day in the South Bay.
That day, at approximately 6:30 a.m. a VTA employee entered the Guadalupe Light Rail Yard and senselessly opened fire on fellow co-workers as they were transitioning from the night to day crew.
Among those who lost their lives:
Paul DelaCruz Megia, 42
Megia began working for VTA in 2002 as a bus operator trainee and rose up the ranks to the assistant superintendent in service management.
He is survived by his three children and wife.
Taptejdeep Singh, 36
Family members told KRO4 News that they were told Singh’s last moments consisted of him trying to save other employees. He made a call to another VTA employee to warn him and others. Singh started as a bus operator trainee in 2014 and would later become a rail operator.
He is survived by his 3-year-old son, 1-year-old daughter, and wife.
Adrian Balleza, 29
Balleza also spent his last moments warning others not to come into work. His brother, who is also a VTA employee, said his brother is his guardian angel and saved his life through a phone call.
He is survived by his wife and 3-year-old son.
Jose De Jesus Hernandez III, 35
The Dublin resident was a substation maintainer who had been partnered with Samuel Cassidy, the man who authorities said gunned down Hernandez and eight others, said his father, Jose Dejesus Hernandez II, a retired Valley Transportation Authority employee.
Timothy Michael Romo, 49
Romo was an overhead worker at VTA for 20 years. He grew up in the Central Coast town of Greenfield, where his father, Mike Romo, was the mayor and police chief.
He is survived by his wife and three children.
Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40
Rudometkin was first identified by San Jose City Councilmember Raul Peralez who posted to Facebook sharing that his friend had passed away. Rudometkin became a VTA mechanic in 2013 then an electro-mechanic and overhead line worker.
Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63
Alaghmandan worked at VTA for about 20 years as a substation maintainer.
Lars Lane, 63
Lane was a father, husband, grandfather, and brother. He became an electro-mechanic with VTA in 2001. Later, he was an overhead line worker.
Alex Ward Fritch, 49
Fitch died at the hospital surrounded by his children and parents, according to his wife. The couple got married after having known each other for just six months and had been together 20 years. They were supposed to travel to Hawaii to renew their vows, she said.